Mining is so deeply rooted in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, that it runs in the blood of almost every single citizen – including my own. The smell of burned iron ore is familiar and oddly comforting.
The women in my family have desease that their bodies have a limited capacity of processing iron - I started showing the first signs of it in the past few years. Conversely, 60 years ago my grandfather started an iron processing plant. His endeavor prospered and led to its expansion a few decades later. I owe all the opportunities I had in life to the iron industry.
Even though 85% of the State’s economy revolves around mining - and around 15% in the country’s economy. It has been causing uncountable environmental devastation and destruction and social disparities in this region. Nevertheless, the full extent of the human and environmental devastation caused by open pit mines more are obscured by the mountainous terrain relatively inaccessible to the local population.
As an activist against mining in my State, before and after cruising through and above the land, I digest what my eyes have seen and what my body has experienced by re visiting my family’s old plant - now abandoned. It has been properly reclaimed by nature and the spaces filled with new life. The prosperity and the dreams of the past are transformed in a ruined economy, the beautiful horizon turned into a decayed and overexploited land.